Policy on design education
Strategy, Design policy, 2012-13
Abhimanyu Nohwar took a 6 month sabbatical from Kiba in 2012 to work with the National Innovation Council, Planning Commission, Government of India, where he created an operational strategy and an implementation plan for his proposal to design new organisational structures for promoting the spread of design education and practice in India. This proposal is now policy, called the National Initiative on Design Innovation.
A unique achievement - Abhimanyu is the only Indian designer to have written policy on Design; his proposal was included in the Government's 12th Five Year Plan and has been in implementation by the Ministry of Human Resource Development since 2013, as the 'National Initiative for Design Innovation'.
Details on the status of implementation the project here.
The Open Participatory Education Network is the underlying organisational model upon which the Open Design School and National Design Innovation Network would operate. It has been conceived of as a model of participatory and collaborative education that could be applied to any academic discipline. Its core objectives are:
interdisciplinary and collaborative learning
open knowledge sharing, and
creating an innovation friendly environment in the country
Strategy: An integrated approach
A cohesive vision for Design Education in India, where design institutions interact extensively with other educational institutions to spread design thinking and add design capability across disciplines. Design Innovation Centres are centers of specialised design-led research and practice that are attached to non-design educational institutions. They are free to focus on the discipline of that institution - such as a DIC focused on medical devices for a Medical college - or to focus on problems in that particular geographical region - as the DIC at IIT Roorkee did with its focus on the Himalayan region.
Free education courseware and collaborative learning
A multidisciplinary design school that, inter alia, shares its courseware freely online.
Free sharing of learning material via Open Course Ware
Flexible and responsive curriculum
Collaborative model of learning and practice
A social impact ecosystem
National Design Innovation Network is a focused social network for collaborative problem solving that connects design schools and professionals to a wide range of stakeholders, including academic institutions, government, industry, social organisations and the public, to work collaboratively to provide design solutions for India.
Currently the NDIN is under development at IIT Mumbai.
Impact of the Policy
DICs or Design Innovation Centres were conceived as centers of design research and practice, attached to non-design educational institutions, thereby bringing the power of design to fields of learning that wouldn’t otherwise have any access to it. This would also help non-design disciplines learn and understand how to leverage design as part of a team based problem solving activity, and carry that knowledge forward into their careers as they disperse amongst the professional landscape after graduation, bringing design into the mainstream as an integrated discipline.
Several Design Innovation Centers have already been successfully established at places including Delhi University, IIT Mumbai, Banaras Hindu University, IIT Roorkee, and Central University of Kashmir, with dozens of applications to the Ministry of Human Resource Development from Universities across the country vying to make the selection. A total of 20 DICs are targeted to be launched in the first phase, following which the model is expected to scale to the hundreds, bringing design capabilities to non-design fields of learning across the country!
To follow the requirements for application for DIC funding form the Government, visit this webpage.
Some links and press coverage on the DIC programme:
Delhi University’s Design Innovation Centre which acts as the hub to three spoke universities in the National Capital REgion
IIT Roorkee gets funding for its DIC which will focus on issues in the Himalayan region.
Pune University’s DIC works in the research areas of chemical, physical, life sciences, social sciences, humanities and art.
A joint DIC between Banaras Hindu University and IIT BHU will look into Agriculture, Environment, Art & Culture, Health, Energy, Science & Technology, and Language & Computing.